When you look in the mirror in the morning, what’s the first thing you notice? For many women, it’s their skin. Whatever your skin’s texture, colour, or type, it’s one of your face’s most defining features. While your face may change as you move through different stages of life, the need to protect your skin from sun damage remains constant. Here, we’ll review how the sun can affect our skin and what to look for in a face sunscreen to keep your skin protected and feeling its best.
The simple answer is yes, you really should wear face sunscreen every single day! But let’s take a moment to understand how sun exposure can affect your skin and why putting sunscreen on your face every day should be an important part of your morning routine.
The sun damages your skin when ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun penetrates unprotected areas of your skin. The UV radiation that can affect your skin is classified as UVA radiation and UVB radiation based on the wavelength of the sunlight. These two types of UV radiation harm your skin in different ways. UVB radiation damages the cells at the surface of your skin, causing the visible sunburn we’re familiar with after too much sun exposure. UVA radiation penetrates beyond the surface to damage cells in the deeper layers of your skin, which can lead to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Both UVA and UVB exposure is associated with an increased risk for skin cancers.
While these harmful effects of UV radiation can occur on any exposed skin, your face is particularly vulnerable to sun damage because it is a part of your body that is left uncovered most of the time. Skin that is frequently exposed to the sun – such as your face – develops what’s called photodamage: this can cause skin to become thinner, drier, and less elastic than skin that is not exposed to UV radiation, leading to wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
Another factor that leaves your face more vulnerable to sun damage is the fact that the skin on your face is a bit different from the skin that covers the rest of your body. On your face, the outermost layer of skin – called the stratum corneum – is thinner than that on your body, arms, or legs, and it contains a lot of sweat glands. These properties can affect the hydration, oil content, and sensitivity of your facial skin, and can leave your face easily irritated and more susceptible to damage from the sun.
Armed with this knowledge, you can see how important it is to protect your face from the sun every day. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate sunscreen into your daily morning skin routine. By wearing sunscreen on your face, you can prevent or reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches the surface of your skin.
So now that you know why you should protect your face every day, let’s review some key features to look out for when you are choosing the best sunscreen for your face.
First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a face sunscreen that offers effective protection from UV radiation. And the two important things to look for on the label are a high sun protection factor (SPF) and broad spectrum coverage. But what do these terms mean for skin protection?
The SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects your skin from UV radiation, in particular the UVB radiation that is primarily responsible for causing sunburn. In New Zealand, SPF 30 and SPF 50 are considered high protection and block 97% of UVB radiation when applied correctly, while SPF 50+ (the highest rating possible) is considered very high protection that blocks 98% of UVB radiation when applied correctly.
Broad spectrum coverage refers to a sunscreen’s ability to protect against both UVB and UVA radiation, which is important because UVB and UVA radiation cause skin damage in different ways. Most sunscreens in New Zealand offer broad spectrum coverage and this is achieved by using active ingredients called UV filters. UV filters are categorised as chemical (organic) or mineral (physical or inorganic) and are used either as single active ingredients or in various combinations to absorb UV radiation across a broad range of wavelengths.
One last consideration: if you plan on going swimming or getting sweaty, it’s probably a good idea to look for a face sunscreen that is water resistant.
It might sound obvious, but the best sunscreen for your face is the one that you’re going to wear every day. So it’s important to find one that feels good on your face by choosing a product that suits your skin type.
● Sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for low irritant or hypoallergenic sunscreens and avoid ingredients such as fragrances and preservatives. Mineral UV filters such as zinc oxide are less likely to cause skin irritation than chemical UV filters.
● Oily skin. With oily or acne-prone skin, lighter water- or alcohol-based sunscreens might be suitable, especially those with ingredients such as zinc oxide that help regulate oil production and don’t clog pores.
● Dry skin. For dry skin, cream-based sunscreens that contain moisturising ingredients can help keep your skin hydrated.
● Combination skin. If you have a combination of normal, oily, or dry skin, consider sunscreens with light moisturisers that won’t clog pores.
Whatever your skin type, INVISIBLE ZINC has a range of face sunscreens with high SPF, broad spectrum protection to help your skin feel good and stay protected from sun damage every day. INVISIBLE ZINC products use micronised zinc oxide that forms a physical barrier on the surface of your skin to provide broad spectrum coverage with a single UV filter with low risk for skin irritation.
● INVISIBLE ZINC Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser contains a lightweight face moisturiser with SPF 50 broad spectrum protection with a sheer or tinted matte finish. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and water resistant for 2 hours .
Absolutely! Mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, such as INVISIBLE ZINC, offer broad spectrum protection against UVB and UVA radiation and because they form a physical barrier on the surface of your skin, they are less likely to irritate your skin – both excellent reasons to use mineral sunscreen on your face.
Unlike the zinc of our childhood summers, most modern mineral sunscreens, including INVISIBLE ZINC, use micronised zinc oxide. These are smaller particles of zinc oxide that offer the same great broad spectrum UV protection without that thick white look across our face.
Your face is almost always uncovered, leaving your delicate and sensitive facial skin exposed to the dangers of UV radiation – skin damage in the form of visible sunburn from UVB radiation and damage to deeper skin layers from UVA radiation that can lead to wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and increased risk for skin cancer.